Following the lifting of a gag order, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) published information on Wednesday stating that Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate’s Unit 8200 “provided exclusive intelligence that led to the thwarting of an airliner bombing by Islamic State (ISIS) at the end of 2017”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke of Israel’s role in a meeting to US Jewish leaders yesterday.
Brothers Khaled Khayat and Mahmoud Khayat were arrested in Sydney last July, and charged with two counts of doing acts in preparation or planning a terrorist attack.
They had intended to smuggle on an explosive device hidden inside a meat grinder onto the Etihad plane, but the attempt was aborted after it was too heavy to check in.
Police also found plans and components of a hydrogen sulphide bomb, with which the brothers were intending to target Sydney’s public transport network.
Speaking to Sky News today regarding whether Israel provided the relevant intelligence, Mr Dutton said “I can confirm it. In doing so, I want to thank the Israelis very much. Obviously we’ve got a very close working relationship with them… This Etihad flight was almost blown out of the sky and would have resulted in hundreds of people losing their lives, so we are very grateful for the assistance Israel provided in that matter. There’s an enormous capacity they have within the intelligence-gathering space, and it’s an important relationship with ASIO [Australian Security Intelligence Organisation] and the Australian Federal Police”.
In recent years the IDF has been working more closely with the Western intelligence community in order to uncover and thwart dozens of terror attacks planned by ISIS against targets around the world.